Mental Health

The COVID-19 outbreak has the potential to negatively affect mental health for everyone, not just those with mental illness. Feelings of anxiety, stress, and loneliness are increased during this time, but you are not alone, and help is out there. See below for some mental health coping strategies and resources:

Mental Health Support with Nancy Vaccaro, Director of Counseling Services

For Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Village wants to remind anyone who's struggling that support is available to you. Nancy Vaccaro, Social Worker and Director of Counseling Services with the Northbrook Police, will be providing mental health information, coping strategies, and helpful resources through a series of videos

This week Nancy is joined by Deputy Chief of Police Dan Strickland to inform you on how the Northbrook Police Department can help in escalated situations. 

Various units of the Police Department work together to respond to issues, and a large portion of the Department's Patrol Unit is state certified in Crisis Intervention Team Training. This training is directed towards handling mental illness signs and symptoms, child and adolescent issues, geriatric issues, substance abuse, PTSD, autism, medical conditions, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in addition to other skills needed for crisis intervention.

If you'd like to speak with a staff member directly or anonymously for information and resources, call the non-emergency number 847-564-2060. If you have an emergency or feel frightened in an out of control situation, call 9-1-1. Our highly trained Police Department is here to help and ready to respond.

Tips from Nancy


During this pandemic, many are struggling with the "new normal" and feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety. Nancy recommends the following for maintaining our mental and physical well-being throughout this stressful time.

A New Daily Routine


Developing some new habits in your daily routine can be extremely beneficial. Try incorporating:
  • a healthy diet;
  • exercise;
  • media limitations;
  • moments to connect with friends and family; 
  • fun or enjoyable activities;
  • proper sleep;
  • work balance and structure; and
  • most importantly, a few minutes of quiet time each day. 

The Daily Calm


In order to be more emotionally present for yourself or your family, take a break and reserve some quiet time every day. Daily relaxation enhances the inner state of peace that we all need and helps us develop an emotional resilience when confronted with negativity.

"This is the daily calm each of us needs during the storm of this coronavirus. Giving ourselves permission to build in a daily sense of calm helps reduce our stress and promote a needed sense of well-being." -Nancy

Ways to Get Help


Reach out to your heathcare provider if you're experiencing extended bouts of anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Virtual appointments are widely available, including counseling over the phone. 

If you or a family member are in distress and having difficulty coping, don't hesitate to contact the Northbrook Police Department. For non-emergency matters, call 847-564-2060. For true emergencies, always call 9-1-1. When necessary, the Department of Counseling Services will follow up to make sure your needs are met.

Recources for Victims of Domestic Violence & Abuse 



Orders of Protection may be necessary for safety, as ordered by a judge. Courthouses are open for these emergency legal matters, and Police Department staff can provide more information about the legal process. Contact the non-emergency line at 847-564-2060. For true emergencies, always call 9-1-1. 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Call 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 for TTY. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
If your child is a risk to themselves or others, having a mental health crisis, or if you would like a referral to services for children, youth, and families, call the 24-hour Crisis and Referral Entry Services (CARES) line. Talk to a mental health professional at 800-345-9049 or 773-523-4504 for TTY.
The North Shore Senior Center offers Adult Protective Services. If you suspect abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an older adult or adult with disabilities ages 18-59, call 847-784-6000, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, or the 24-hour hotline at 866-800-1409.
The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic offers pro bono legal services on domestic violence, housing, and other legal assistance. Visit their website or call 847-737-4042.

Call4Calm Hotline


A new, free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, is now available for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. Illinois Department of Human Services' Mental Health Division launched the hotline, which connects Illinoisans with the mental health services and other support systems they need.

Text "TALK" to 552020 to connect with a counselor. The service is also available in Spanish by texting "HABLAR" to the same number. Within 24 hours of sending a text to the hotline, residents will receive a call from a counselor at a local community health center. Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous. Individuals can also text 552020 with key words such as "unemployment," "food" or "shelter" for help navigating state assistance services.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor. Both resources are available 24/7.

Text-A-Tip for Students


The COVID-19 outbreak has been hard on everyone, including teens and children, some of whom may be reluctant to share their feelings in person. LEAD (Leading Efforts Against Drugs) provides students in our community with safe, secure, and anonymous 24/7 access to trained, professional counselors.

Students who have concerns about themselves or a friend can text a code to 844-823-5323 and receive an immediate text response. The codes are specific to schools; however, any student from any school can use any code:

  • District 27: Wildcat
  • District 28: NBJH
  • District 30: NBHelp
  • District 31: Field
  • District 34: ATHELP or SPHELP
  • District 225: GBN Help and GBS Help

Inspire Counseling Center Offering Free Sessions for First Responders 


Inspire Counseling Center is providing free virtual support to first responders and essential workers impacted by COVID-19. Inspire also has support available through teletherapy for children ages 3+, adolescents, adults, couples, and families impacted during this time. Learn more here.

Josselyn Center Offering Free Counseling for First Responders & Healthcare Workers

The Josselyn Center will be offering counseling sessions to first responders and hospital staff free of charge until the COVID-19 outbreak is over. First responders and hospital staff in northern Illinois can call 847-441-5600 x 1 to get started with 3 free therapy sessions by Zoom or phone. The Josselyn Center will collect basic information, and then connect you with a volunteer clinician who will send a secure video conferencing link. Any first responder who would like to continue their sessions will be connected to a Josselyn staff clinician for ongoing support. Learn more about the Josselyn Center here

Center for Psychology and Wellness Free Sessions

The Center for Psychology and Wellness is providing a special free offer for first responders, essential workers, and those directly impacted by COVID-19.

Coping Strategies

1. Take Care of Yourself


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking deep breaths, stretching, or meditation; trying to eat healthy, well-balanced meals; exercising regularly; and getting plenty of sleep. You should also make time to unwind and connect (virtually) with people you trust about how you are feeling.

2. Find Things To Do/Distractions


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests household chores, such as spring cleaning; free online courses to learn a new skill or language; watching movies or shows; exercising or going for walks; picking up a new hobby, like knitting or painting; and trying out new recipes. 

3. Help Others 


According to NAMI, the "helper principle" shows that helping others is also a benefit to the helper! Find ways to volunteer in the community here.

4. Be Mindful Of Your News Consumption


Both the CDC and NAMI suggest taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and can be detrimental to your mental health. For some, avoiding the news may cause more stress or nervousness. Watch, listen, or read the news, but be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information.

5. Ask for Help


It is always okay to seek out help, and resources are out there:

  • CDC Guidance for Individuals, Parents, Responders, and those in Quarantine
  • Domestic Violence Help & Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • NAMI Website and Helpline: 800-950-6264
  • NAMI Coronavirus Resources Guide & Coping Strategies
  • Northbrook Cares Website
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255